Tag Archives: antimicrobial resistance

Poulty Farmer

USDA NIFA Invests in Meat and Poultry Agriculture Workforce Training and Mitigating Antimicrobial Resistance Across the Food Chain

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Poulty Farmer

On May 26, 2022, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced an investment of $25 million, as part of the American Rescue Plan for meat and poultry agriculture workforce training. NIFA will invest $25 million through new and existing workforce development programs to provide a pipeline of well-trained workers to meet the demand increased independent processing capacity.
“These investments will enhance equity and capacity across the food supply chain by supporting meat and poultry research, education and training at the local level. USDA will leverage its robust regional education and extension networks and establish new, or supplement existing, Centers of Excellence at Minority-serving Institutions to support this capacity-building effort,” said Acting NIFA Director Dr. Dionne Toombs. “Workforce training will increase the resiliency and competitiveness of our local and regional supply chains and support the industry’s urgent need for highly skilled talent to meet labor demands across the country.”

The investment includes two funding opportunities:

  • Extension Risk Management Education and Sustainable Agriculture Research Education Programs: An investment of $5 million will be split equally between Extension Risk Management Education and Sustainable Agriculture Research Education programs. Work in these programs will support development of meat and poultry processing training and educational materials for place-based needs, particularly relevant to small- or medium-sized farmers and ranchers. Additionally, training local and/or regional meat and poultry workers presents a unique opportunity to address the demand from niche markets, like mobile processing units fulfilling market demand from fresh markets, on-site processing, farm-to-fork (restaurateurs), boutique grocers and others.
  • Community/Technical College Ag Workforce Training and Expanded Learning Opportunities: This Agricultural Workforce Training (AWT) investment makes available $20 million to qualified community colleges to support meat and poultry processing workforce development programs. The AWT program seeks to develop a workforce ready for the field as well as industry jobs in the food and agricultural sectors. By creating new workforce training programs, or expanding, improving, or renewing existing workforce training programs at community, junior, and technical colleges/institutes, this program will expand job-based, experiential learning opportunities, acquisition of industry-accepted credentials and occupational competencies for students to enable a workforce for the 21st century.

The NIF also announced an investment of more than $5 million to mitigate antimicrobial resistance across the food chain. “Pathogen resistance to antimicrobials is a complex problem, encompassing human medicine, poultry and livestock health, and even plant crop production,” said Dr. Toombs. “The projects supported through this investment will work to ensure a safe, nutritious and abundant food supply while conserving antimicrobial effectiveness.”
This investment is part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Mitigating Antimicrobial Resistance Across the Food Chain grant program, which supports integrated research, education and extension projects. Research approaches include risk assessment, antibiotic management and stewardship, advancing understanding of emerging resistant pathogens and their mechanisms for resistance, and disease control using antimicrobial alternatives. NIFA’s work contributes to the overall federal strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance as described in the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria National Action Plan 2020-2025.

Nine projects are being funded, totaling $5,117,165. Examples of the funded projects include:

  • Scientists at the University of Florida will study the effects on naturally occurring bacteria when citrus greening disease-infected trees are sprayed with antibiotics to characterize development of antimicrobial resistance. ($299,999)
  • Scientists at the Iowa State University of Science and Technology will model the movement of bacteria through different environments, such as surface and subsurface water, as a route for bacterial movement from animal and human waste to plant crops. ($1,000,000)
  • Scientists in Veterinary Preventive Medicine at The Ohio State University will study the movement of auctioned male calves through the market to better understand the use of antimicrobial drugs to prevent and treat disease. ($999,938)

To sign up for notifications of these and other NIFA funding opportunities visit the NIFA Funding Opportunities page.



CDC, FDA, USDA logos

NARMS Publishes 2019 Report on Antimicrobial Resistance Trends in Pathogens

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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CDC, FDA, USDA logos

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) has published its 2019 Integrated Report Summary, which reviews antimicrobial resistance trends in Salmonella, Campylobacter, generic E. coli, and Enterococcus. The report also discusses genomic information for Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli in retail meat and food producing animals.

NARMS is a partnership between FDA, CDC, USDA’s FSIS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Agricultural Research Service, and other state and local public health departments and federal agencies. The national surveillance in the report helps all public health partners identify new types and patterns of resistance and changes over time.

“FSIS and the CDC use NARMS information on a case-by-case basis to investigate foodborne illnesses and outbreaks. FDA routinely uses NARMS data in its regulatory review and approval of new animal antimicrobial drugs, and to develop and update policies on the judicious use of antimicrobial in animals. NARMS findings help public health partners continually assess the nature and magnitude of bacterial antibiotic resistance at different points along the farm-to-fork continuum.” – USDA

The report includes a new way to calculate multidrug resistance (MDR), which means a resistance to three or more antimicrobial drug classes. The method is supposed to provide more consistency to the NARMS year-to-year MDR trend analysis and comparisons.

The Integrated Report Summary is available on FDA’s website.

FDA on Enforcement: Our Goal is To Help, Not Punish

By Maria Fontanazza
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Over the past year and a half, much attention has been given the federal government’s commitment to prioritizing prosecution of food companies that engage in criminal behavior. In some instances, this has been used as a scare tactic, shining a spotlight on the executive responsibility of company executives.  Although focusing on executive liability isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Stephen Ostroff, M.D., deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at FDA, wants food manufacturers to know that FDA isn’t out to get them.

During yesterday’s opening keynote presentation at the 2016 Food Safety Consortium, Ostroff commented on FDA’s approach to enforcement. “I often have to scratch my head as why this has been such a tremendous concern in a regulated industry…sitting at FDA, we have not had any change in our thinking and approach about liability,” said Ostroff. “FDA pursues legal action against companies that are clearly negligent and clearly violating the law.” He emphasized that FDA’s goal moving into the FSMA compliance phase hasn’t changed; it’s about implementing a food safety system focused on preventive controls.

Ostroff encouraged attendees to look at the areas in which their food safety system is vulnerable, take proactive action and build redundancies into their system. “The best defense is to comply with the new requirements, and document how you are creating a food safety culture where everyone understands the expectations,” he added. “If you’re making a good faith attempt—our goal is to help you accomplish that goal, not to punish you for the attempts that you’ve made in good faith.”

The deputy commissioner also commented on the agency’s progress since FSMA’s seven rules were finalized in May, pointing out that these rules are foundational, and additional rules are to come. These rules will address lab accreditation, traceability related to imported products and a reportable food registry tool.

“If when we visit we identify very significant food safety hazards that we think pose an imminent risk of foodborne illness, we will have to take action.” – Stephen Ostroff, M.D.

Other key areas Ostroff discussed regarding agency progress and initiatives included:

  • Initial compliance date for FSMA Preventive Controls Rule (for large companies). FDA wants to be a partner in assisting companies with the preventive controls requirements. “That for us will require a lot of work on the part of those who are going to be conducting these inspections, but our goal is to help you and tell you in which areas you’re doing quite well and in which areas you can do better,” said Ostroff, adding that many of the aspects of the preventive controls rule are very similar to what many companies have already done.
  • Foodborne outbreaks. With several outbreaks in the 2015–2016 timeframe (ice cream–Listeriosis; cilantro–cyclospora; cucumbers­–Salmonellosis; Mexican-style fast food–E.coli O26; flour–E.coli O121), the Inspector General expressed concern over the FDA recall process and criticized the agency for not having  better defined timeframes. In response to that report, FDA implemented the SCORE (Strategic Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation) team, which guides concrete action plans for measures that the agency must take in the areas of recalls, for example. The team consists of decision makers from key operations and enforcement offices with a goal of expediting the evaluation of compliance and enforcement options. Since April, SCORE has addressed flour contaminated with peanut protein, facilities contaminated with Listeria, Salmonella in pistachios, and baby food that was not manufactured in compliance with infant formula regulations.
  • Antimicrobial resistance. The issue is “getting attention at the highest levels of government,” said Ostroff, adding that the best way to address antimicrobial resistance is to not have to treat it in the first place—and to do this is through reducing the incidence foodborne illness. The agency is moving forward in several areas here, including addressing non-judicial use of food animals and veterinary settings; enhancing NARMS data and isolate collection; and collecting data on antimicrobial sales by species.
Attendees listen to Stephen Ostroff, M.D., deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at FDA, give the keynote presentation at the 2016 Food Safety Consortium.
Attendees listen to Stephen Ostroff, M.D., deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at FDA, give the keynote presentation at the 2016 Food Safety Consortium.

During the Town Hall part of the presentation, Ostroff was asked, with the finalization of the FSMA rules, are they cast in stone? His answer: Not necessarily. “It took five years to get in place…because we did it in a very systematic way with a lot of stakeholder input. When you put together rules that are this complicated, there’s no guarantee that you got everything right,” he said. “[We] have to recognize that sometimes some of the flaws don’t become apparent into you implement them. You always have to be of the mindset that if everything didn’t work out exactly the way things were anticipated…we always have to be open to the fact that as we move forward and implement the rules, we might have to make course corrections.”


Antimicrobial Resistance Research a $6 Million USDA Priority

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Today the USDA announced that is providing $6 million in funding for research surrounding antimicrobial resistance. Available via the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, funded applications must tackle one or more areas:

  • Development of new systems approaches to investigate the ecology of microbial resistance microbes and gene reservoirs in the environment in animals, crops, food products or farm-raised aquaculture products
  • Development, evaluation and implementation of effective and sustainable resources and strategies. This approach includes alternative practices, techniques, technologies or tools that mitigate emergence, spread or persistence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens
  • Identify critical control points for mitigating antimicrobial resistance in pre- and post-harvest food production
  • Design training, education, and outreach resources (including web-based) that are adaptable by users across the food chain (from policy makers to producers and processors to retailers and consumers)
  • Design and conduct studies that evaluate the impact and efficacy of proposed research, education and extension/outreach interventions on antimicrobial resistance across the food chain

Applications are due August 3.